Behind the Scenes at Our National Parks

When I was on a recent trip I wondered about some things and had to be disgusted with the treatment I saw some of our national treasures received. I began to wonder and spent the rest of my trip seeing and asking about the things that happen but I could not really see. For instance on our trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the cabin that rests just inside of the parks entrance once was on a world wind tour of our nation. It was in one of the state fairs and traveled across our country so people could see for themselves exactly where Theodore Roosevelt wrote some of his great sayings and some books. In the early 1900’s it was displayed at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition and then later at the Lewis and Clark Exhibition, both displayed and viewed as a popular attraction.

The Maltese Cross cabin is the cabin that Teddy Roosevelt resided in when he was a rancher in the Badlands of North Dakota. He was there in the late 1880’s and many of his attitudes and ideas of nature and conservation came from his being in the area those years. He purchased land there after his wife and mother died, and then tried his hand at ranching for a few years. He spent more time with the men of the area and wrote notes, sayings and thoughts of his new found friends and neighbors. He wrote these ideas and sayings while sitting at the desk in the corner of the cabin that was outfitted a bit differently than most of the ranchers cabins of the Dakotas. He used things in his cabin like windows and lights for reading when most of the other ranchers were more interested in sleep by the time the sun set. He had windows put in the cabin for better lighting, he used a china cabinet as a book shelf and had a rocking chair, an unusual piece of furniture for a ranch cabin.

The cabin is called the Maltese Cross due to the brand the previous ranchers had used, later the men of the ranch, not only the ones Roosevelt hired to work for him but some others would pound cartridge casings into the end of one of the cabins logs in a cross. I’m not sure why they did this but I have researched it and found a few conflicting stories so I like the one where they were just bored and wanted to confuse the ones who would come later and wonder why the shell casings are stuck in the end of the log. I made that up if you don’t get the hint, I just wanted to point out that not all the stories I have heard can be believed, but some of them Roosevelt has written about.

Which brings me to my point, I would not have found out about this interesting stuff if someone had not taken the time to bother with it. And so on down the line of people starting with Roosevelt himself with starting the National Parks system and all the others who have bothered to save something for others to enjoy. I have written a story about the other side of this, The Raping of our National Treasures and I feel that it is just that. People are going into our National Parks and other public areas that others are trying to save as part of our nations history and leave their own history, graffiti and such. The Maltese Cross in the end of the log used to have shell casings in it, now there is only one left, people have stolen the rest.

People from the time the cabin left it’s original site in North Dakota till it rested in it’s current site in Theodore Roosevelt National Park have gone to great lengths to take care of the cabin so others could see it. They have strived to maintain the cabin in it’s original condition so we could see the cabin that a great man once sat and wrote great and inspiring sayings and books. Many have worked not only just for pay but for the satisfaction of saving this one piece of our nations past. Others all over our country not only work at a job, but strive at a great effort to save and preserve national treasures for others to enjoy and cherish. They work for the pay, but also for the satisfaction of seeing these great works of man and nature that are held in trust by our country and it’s people for the benefit of future generations to be able to see and enjoy.

The National Parks System has gone to great lengths to preserve and showcase our national treasures, The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Death Valley, The Grand Canyon. These are just some of the national treasures I am talking about. Others are ones such as the memorials in Washington and other places honoring those that have helped to make our country great. The National Parks system works very hard at keeping these treasures for others to enjoy and see. While we were at Mt. Rushmore we got to talk to one man who actually worked their, on the mountain with the sculptor who designed it. He helped build the national monument and it was an honor and a treat to be able to talk to him and thank him. Others thanked him for his efforts and he enjoyed talking and telling the people about what he did and how the project moved along as he saw it when he was growing up.

He is just one person who helped this country honor men and women who have made great contributions to our society and so many others continue today to do this important work. They are the ones who think it is important enough to work at the national parks and other national and state preserves, wildlife refuges and areas that the states and the nation have set aside for our future generations to enjoy. People work for these places and strive to preserve them for our future generations to enjoy. Everyday people go around and pick up garbage, clean the sidewalks and bathrooms and other areas of the parks and preserves so we can enjoy our stay there. Everyday the parks and preserve employees and even volunteers help to make our stay an enjoyable one but they do more than that.

Often they entertain and help us learn about the park, preserve or people who are associated with it. We often leave with a sense of awe or wonder about some aspect of the area or a person who helped to carve out that little niche of our nation. Even if it was something as small as telling us on our way out of the park to have a nice day and hope we enjoyed our visit, they often have some impact that we cannot fathom at the time. Later we see or hear something that reminds us of that time and see that we have been impacted, we remembered something good, some bit of history or some facts about nature or our history that we will pass on to somebody else.

The staff at the national parks do so much more than we see or even get a hint at from just visiting the park. Not only is there the clean up and ensuring the parks are in top shape for visitors, but there are things like roads, trails, picnic areas and grounds around buildings to keep up. Then there’s the things like learning about the part of the park or area that they will pass on to us. They must learn about and remember these facts and interesting tidbits and be able to pass this on to us in a way that is entertaining and fun for us to be interested in hearing and learning about.

There is another thing that we hope to never find out about but that some unfortunately do, the help they give when someone needs it. Medical personnel are trained and ready to help if anyone needs them when we visit these parks, they are prepared and ready if needed. And sometimes they have been, car accidents or people having health problems or incidents while they are at the parks are an occurrence that the parks personnel train for and are ready to handle along with local authorities. They have even gone as far as installing and equipping cell phone towers in national parks so that people can call for help when needed.

People are an integral part of our national parks, state parks and other areas that I am talking about. Not only federal employees but state and local people who work to help preserve or maintain these places are an important part of the parks and preserves. People who not only have the job, but who take the extra time to learn more about the history and past of the park and pass that information on to others are the ones who are important. They are the ones who pass on the knowledge and information and make it more fun and enjoyable for us to find out about. They are the ones who we should thank when we go to these places for the job they not only do, but for the fact that they want to ensure that others get to enjoy these places in the future. That is the one part of the job that they are doing that is extremely important, ensuring that future generations are able to enjoy and learn about our nations treasures; National and State Parks, wetlands, preserves, monuments and wherever else our countries history is being preserved.

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